For years the FDA has encouraged the use of generic drugs, insisting the generic brands were just as effective as brand name drugs. As it turns out, generic drugs may not be an equal alternative to its brand name counterparts. After receiving reports that patients taking the generic form of Wellbutrin, a popular antidepressant, suffered a relapse in their depression, the agency has decided to examine the ways in which generic drug manufacturers make extended release drugs.
Although regulators claim that the problem seems to be limited to only one generic drug, a 300-milligram dose of bupropion, the FDA’s decision that generic is not the equivalent of the original brand name drug has raised concern and awareness amongst many consumers. According to Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, the problem of less effective generic drugs may be more widespread than the FDA is aware. Critics of generic drugs say that even with the same active ingredients, generic companies are not always successful in replicating the extended-release effects of the originals.
For some patients, cheaper alternatives may not be a suitable one, especially for consumers with prescriptions for extended-release drugs. Pharmaceutical companies also patent the way drugs are manufactured and designed to release the active ingredient. Therefore it is often the case that generic versions of such drugs are unable to have the same effects as the brand name drugs. Consumers are advised to consult with their doctors before switching any of their prescriptions for a generic brand.
When a drug marketed to be an equally effective and cheaper alternative to brand name drugs proves to be otherwise, injured patients may be eligible to recover financial damages related to their adverse events. Severely harmed patients are advised to consult a professional product liability lawyer for more information regarding consumer rights and legal options.